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Tip Sheet for the week of July 24, 2006

RELEASED: July 24, 2006

Story Idea
A Memorial High School and UW-Eau Claire alumna who is one of the nation's leaders in the accounting profession has committed $500,000 to establish an endowed Blugold Promise Scholarship in honor of her parents (her mother still lives in Eau Claire). Ann Gunderson Thornburg, a 1971 accounting graduate, will use her annual gifts and a bequest from her estate to fund the Thomas and Mavis Gunderson Scholarship. The Blugold Promise Scholarship Program provides need-based scholarships to high-achieving freshmen who, provided they do well, receive a second larger award their sophomore year. The scholarship will help highly motivated students whose financial need could interfere with attending and then remaining in school. A first-generation college graduate, Thornburg wants to provide scholarships to students who are the first in their families to attend college and have limited finances. Education was a priority for Thornburg's parents, who relocated to Eau Claire so that Thornburg and her siblings could attend UW-Eau Claire. Thornburg, who received a scholarship through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, graduated from UW-Eau Claire and went on to great success at PricewaterhouseCoopers, becoming the first female partner in Boston, the firm's second largest office, and the first woman elected to the firm's Board of Partners and Principals. Thornburg's pledge will include a substantial annual gift that will establish the fund and provide generous annual scholarships. A significant commitment through her estate will complete the permanent endowment of the fund. For details, contact Carole Halberg, UW-Eau Claire Foundation president, at halberca@uwec.edu or 715-836-2327.

Story Idea
UW-Eau Claire will have a total of 17 National Merit scholars on campus in the fall. Six new freshmen are National Merit scholars who have been awarded full in-state tuition for four years by the university. The UW-Eau Claire Foundation funds the university-sponsored scholarships. Two of the six incoming freshmen who received the prestigious scholarships are from western Wisconsin. Paul Brandt is from Eau Claire and Robert Hagen is from River Falls. Brandt, a graduate of Eau Claire North High School, has not yet declared a major. Hagen, a graduate of River Falls Senior High School, plans to study music. High school students qualify to win the scholarships by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall some 16,000 semifinalists were named on a state representational basis, in numbers proportional to each state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. Semifinalists, who represent less than 1 percent of a state's seniors, were the only students who had an opportunity to continue in the competition by submitting a detailed scholarship application and meeting other requirements to advance to finalist standing. More than 15,000 semifinalists advanced to the finalist level, and approximately half of this group was chosen to receive Merit scholarship awards for 2006. UW-Eau Claire has participated in the program since 1982 and averages from three to eight college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients each year. UW-Eau Claire and UW-Madison are the only schools in the UW System that participate in the program. For more information, contact Gretchen Switalski, Admissions counselor, at 715-836-5415 or switalgr@uwec.edu.

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